Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM SEPT. 17, 2022 9 UNDER THE DOME Yes, Tommy Rees Has The Players To Succeed By Tyler Horka It's difficult to argue yes considering Kyren Williams was one of the best backs Notre Dame has boasted in quite some time and quarterback Jack Coan was a fifth-year player with Power Five starting experience, but I'll do it anyway. Yes, this offense will be as good as last year's. That unit averaged a respectable 426.5 yards per game. Still, that was the Irish's lowest mark since the dreadful 2016 season (417.6). The players that offen- sive coordinator Tommy Rees is working with can get to 426.5 per game, even with a dud of 293 yards against Ohio State in the season opener. Notre Dame only put up 242 total yards against Wisconsin last year. If the Ohio State game is a low point, this year's Irish offense is already a step ahead. Of course, Clemson is going to have something to say about that. And a first-year starting quarterback in Tyler Buchner could be in for another small output against a team you wouldn't expect. But it's Buchner that provides the potential for this group, too. He's the wild card. He'll be able to get out and run against opponents like North Carolina, Syracuse, Navy and a few other not-so-dominant defenses Notre Dame has on the schedule. The ground game with three talented backs in Chris Tyree, Audric Estime and Logan Diggs will wake up after the Buckeyes bullied that trio. The main concern is that the wide receiving corps isn't capable of holding up its end of the bargain, but Lorenzo Styles should get better and better as the season progresses. And when in doubt, throw it to Michael Mayer. This unit can be as good as 2021's. No, Youth And Inexperience Will Hold This Unit Down By Todd D. Burlage One game is obviously too small of a sample to get overly worried or start eliciting full panic over any as- pect of a football team, especially since it was against No. 2-ranked Ohio State. But given the youthful makeup of the 2022 Notre Dame offense, it won't keep up with the 2021 unit that featured an experienced starting quarterback in Jack Coan and a future NFL running back in Kyren Williams. When Coan transferred to Notre Dame from Wiscon- sin, he brought with him 22 career appearances and a full season as a starter in 2019 when he led the Badgers to 10 wins, a Rose Bowl appearance and a No. 11 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. In 2022, the Irish rolled out sophomore Tyler Buchner, who had never started and entered the season with only 21 career pass completions. Coan, for his college career, threw 48 touchdown passes. Buchner entered the Marshall game with 3 career touchdown tosses. As for running backs, Williams in 2021 returned as a preseason All-Amer- ican after rushing for 1,125 yards, catching 35 passes and scoring 14 touch- downs as a sophomore in 2020. Williams then rushed for 1,002 yards and 14 scores last season. This year's three top running backs — junior Chris Tyree and sophomores Audric Estime and Logan Diggs — entered this season with only 512 rushing yards combined in 2021. Mix in a group of youthful and unproven wide receivers, an inexperienced of- fensive line that's dealing with the lingering injury uncertainty of starting guard and team captain Jarrett Patterson, and it's impossible to see the 2022 offense reaching the 426.2 yards and 35.2 points Coan and the Irish averaged in 2021. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WILL NOTRE DAME'S 2022 OFFENSE BE AS GOOD AS ITS 2021 OFFENSE? BUCHNER REES Get your author-signed copy! Use code B&G22 COMING FALL 2022

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